The Red Elephant Foundation (REF) is an initiative built on the foundations of story-telling towards civilian peace-building. In our work, we deal with a lot of activism and advocacy centred around specific drivers of peace, and one of this involves activism for gender sensitivity. We look forward to strengthening our actions in favour of gender equality within the international community. To do this, we became official partners of the MY World Global Survey on the Post-2015 Development Agenda aiming to position gender equality as one of the top priorities of international development.
We believe global civil society plays a very important role in the construction and follow-up mechanisms of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Through MY World, which represents a fundamental tool to share some of our needs and interests as global citizens, we can have a real impact towards the adoption of new global development policies and actions led by the United Nations. We had a committed group of over 400 volunteers of all ages living in 30 countries. We specifically worked on the promotion of online and offline voting in the MY World Global Survey and we have developed different strategies and activities aiming to reach the most vulnerable and isolated communities.
Our strategy was very simple: we created awareness on the Post-2015 processes among our volunteers and staff, which was expected to gather as many votes as they could. We requested them to do this with their families, colleagues and friends. Once they completed this step, we asked them to engage in offline voting among civilians in their countries, especially in communities where there is limited access to the Internet.
Volunteers had to talk about the importance of positioning gender equality among the six priorities, especially among the youth. They talked to communities about the different social, political, economic and cultural challenges women face around the globe and even in their communities. They also documented their work, through photographs and videos.
To this end, we were able to see some phenomenal commitment from people belonging to the private sector, the civil society sector and the corporate and organisational sector, as well as individuals. We saw so many people overcoming the myriad obstacles of lack of infrastructure and means of communication, lack of access to resources – all learning plenty, and choosing a means to shape their futures.
As young feminist advocates, many of us were able to understand the power of our voices, and were able to take up the cause for equality at all levels. We were able to show people the opportunities they would have in a future built on equality, and the kind of peace that the world would soon come to know. It was a beautiful transformation of many minds, and it inspired us to see the readiness in people and their drive to contribute to the cause.
To read more about the initiative from an Indian young feminist REF volunteer, click on this story: “Rallying People’s Support for Gender Equality in the Post-2015 Development Agenda”
Kirthi Jayakumar is the founder and CEO of the Red Elephant Foundation, a global peace initiative that works towards civilian peacebuilding through storytelling and proactive dialogue. Kirthi is a writer, artist, activist and lawyer, based out of Chennai, India.